The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

For topics unrelated to recent threads. (No Covid, in particular.) Do not bring your fights from other threads here, either.

Play nicer folks. This is just a comments section, what you say in it changes nothing large, but how you act to other commenters matters because they are people.

I’d rather not bring back pre-approval comments moderation; among other things often you’ll have to wait 12+ hours for comment approval or dismissal. Sometimes longer.


The Covid Idiot Shuffle


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 8, 2021


  1. Willy

    I say it’s time for a great big group hug.

    (((group hug)))

    Hey… who’s pinching my ass?

  2. Willy

    I believe that our billionaire plutocratic overlords are indeed financing a vast right-wing conspiracy against the masses, and they know exactly how and where to take advantage. And that Ronald Reagan was their first successful experiment in mass mind control.

  3. Soredemos

    Look, I won’t touch on covid, but Plague Species linked to some trash piece saying NC was misinformation. One of the claims it makes is that:

    “Yves enables the wealthy elite via providing consultation services for their businesses. As much as she bemoans the PMC, she is the PMC.”

    Assuming this is in reference to Aurora Advisors, this is itself misinformation. Aurora hasn’t been active in over a decade. Its website is only kept up because it hosts various articles Smith/Webber has written over the years. She doesn’t even live in NYC anymore.

    Also, class traitors are a thing. A very desirable thing. If you’re only going to accept workers as revolutionaries, you’re going to have a very tiny and ineffectual revolution.

  4. Willy

    CGTN is Chinese national news, about as credible as Falun Gong’s Epoch Times. An honest intellect would parse them both with an open mind, taking nothing at shiny face value, to divine whatever truth was possible to gain. Personally, I’d rather be using divining rods to find water pipes.

    So I move on to the Grayzone article which you hand-picked just for me:

    Again, I don’t believe in a Uyghur genocide. I do believe the CCP is doing hard core camp indoctrination to try and rid itself of any Islamic nationalist or terroristic impulses which some Uyghurs have demonstrated. Makes sense to me. The CCP is after all, still a notoriously statist organization. Even the conservative shill Ben Shapiro has admitted that giving them capitalist industry assuming they’d liberalize, was a mistake.

    Reading on we find that even further right from Shapiro is Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist. The Grayzone links to many internal (Grayzone) sources about Zenz. For me a single quote: “I feel very clearly led by God to do this” is all I really needed to know. He’s a Conservangie nutjob.

    And then we read through a lot about Newlines, a partisan outfit, and their cast of characters and their association with FXUA, which sounds about as credible as Trump or Prager U. Seems a Liberty U with trailer trash pool boys.

    We read about even more shady conservative critters, who’s motive is regime change for China. I say good luck with that. There’s far too many CCP party members to buy off, when I’m sure they’re doing fine already. I’d think American plutocrats would rather invest in bringing jobs back to the USA to give them to the robots they bought.

    So what’s this then:
    The Epoch Times, a media network that The New York Times has described as an “anti-China, pro-Trump media empire” and “leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation.
    Yes, the CCP once did to them what they’re now doing to the Uyghurs. Same old stuff different outgroup. Maybe had they talked with Astrid first, they wouldn’t have gone down that dark path to conservatism.

    I didn’t see anything about re-education camps. They seem to think that a guy named Zenz and his army of FXUS sycophants is part of a vast right wing conspiracy to wag the entire MSM dog, formerly for China and now against China.

    You already dissed my entire search return on the closed thread to whatever site or news service best floated your boat. As if every single one is owned by the Falun Gong and the vast right wing conspiracy. What now?

  5. Jason

    I agree with Soredemos. Yves is Yves, and we could argue over how far the “PMC” label extends and whether it applies to much of that crew, too (another productive use of our time), but PS provides no evidence that Yves provides consultation services to the elite.

    Naked Capitalism continues to be invaluable.

  6. Ché Pasa

    This is not about Covid directly. But it is indirectly about consequences.

    I spent most of today at the hospital receiving regular infusion treatment for a chronic condition. I recognized only two of the staff, the rest of the nurses and staff were new — to that facility at any rate. There were fewer than usual. The patient load was slightly less, too.

    During previous visits — the last one was two weeks ago — staff had been almost all people I knew or recognized, they were very disciplined about glove and mask wearing, cleaning up after themselves, keeping the workspace tidy, etc. And they were insistent patients wear masks and use hand sanitizer. Not this time. Staff wore masks, but not necessarily properly, and they used their own masks rather than hospital issue. Glove use was almost random, and I saw one nurse who didn’t change her gloves between patients (big whoops!) Only one used hand sanitizer routinely. Others, not so much.

    One patient had a chin mask most of the time he was being treated.

    I know that staffing has been a general problem in hospitals for some time. Nurses and other staff saw pay and hour cuts last year, much of which has not been restored. Of course administrators saw pay increases and job security. Recruiting and keeping front-line staff is difficult, and service is spotty.

    Another data point: I had to go to the ER for a bleeding wound that needed stitches 10 days ago. The ER was packed. More people were flooding in — that’s what it felt like. Several patients were in custody. (I’d been criminally assaulted and it was no comfort to be in that company at that time…) There was no triage nurse — she disappeared after calling a patient who took a few minutes to get to the triage room door. He sat on the floor waiting. There was no place else to sit. I stood the whole time I was there. No one came back to the triage room. Someone was yelling loudly in the back. Reception staff looked to be panicking and one left. Security came. Yelling continued. No triage took place. One elderly woman in a wheelchair said she’d been waiting to be seen for four hours. Social distance was impossible given the crush of patients waiting to be seen by anyone. Everyone was calm, I will say that. But frustrated. Very frustrated.

    This was not inner-city. This was not normal. It was not routine for in custody patients to be seen at this ER. It was absolutely not routine for over 40 patients (and some minders/cops) to fill a waiting room set up for less than 20. This ER is the closest one, more than 30 minutes’ drive from my home.

    I left after an hour with no triage taking place. No social distance. Went to urgent care near my place first thing in the morning. No wait. No stitches either! What a world. We are seeing the future unfold.

  7. Hugh

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report covering July is out. It showed that not seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs (public and private sectors combined) declined 133,000 in July. This drop is the result of when states and localities report letting go people from state and local education for the summer. This drop is smaller than the 900,000 or so that usually get furloughed over the summer. This smaller drop is explained by a rise of 779,000 jobs in the private sector versus its near near zero to 200,000 rise usually in this month.

    Overall, we remain down 9.063 million jobs in total nonfarm (public and private) jobs not seasonally adjusted from where we would expect to be without covid. We are down 8.247 million in the private sector. Looking at employed from the smaller household survey, we are down 9.213 million.

    This data coming from mid-last month probably doesn’t reflect the effect, if any, of the most recent covid surge. And, as always, the BLS does not measure the quality of jobs.

  8. git yer jabs here - prizes too!

    Thank you for the report, Che. We need more on-the-ground stuff like that.

    Willy often shares interesting yarns as well.

    I’m off to the garden center. I have a full-face gas mask that I wear. I don’t mind the stares. It’s not my health I’m primarily concerned about. It’s theirs.

  9. Jason

    Strike News:

    Canada border officer strike leads to long lines, delays for trucks needing to cross

    Canadian customs officers began a work-to-rule strike at the border at 6 a.m. Friday morning and warned it would lead to long delays. And, sure enough, truck drivers are feeling the impact.

    The commercial vehicles are lined up, essentially at a standstill, all across the Ambassador Bridge. There’s a 6.2-mile line at the Port Huron entry, too.

    Michigan State Police tweeted that the delay is causing a backup across Interstate 75 from the Ambassador Bridge all the way to the Rouge River Bridge and urged all noncommercial traffic to avoid the area.

    In Port Huron, an entrance to the Blue Water Bridge has been closed because of the heavy traffic, the Times Herald reported.

    “Eastbound I-94/I-69 is backed up as well with traffic attempting to cross the Blue Water Bridge,” Kuehn said in an email to the Times Herald. “Please avoid traveling Pine Grove Avenue near the Blue Water Bridge if at all possible.”

    MSP and Michigan Department of Transportation Bay Region spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall both say that, although the heavy congestion may be annoying, it is out of their control as all border security jurisdiction lies with the border security agencies.

    The strike comes with the border set to reopen at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

    Members of two unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union, say striking was the last resort –– they’ve been without a contract for three years and say they feel they’ve exhausted all other options.

  10. Willy

    Myself, 15 years ago, 2 hours in a smallish urgent care clinic receiving 12 stitches, $450.

    Myself, 10 years ago, 2 hours in the ER (same company closed that clinic to route all “urgent” conditions to their ER in their new hospital), no diagnosis (torn bicep which I later self-diagnosed and self-rehabilitated) $1800.

    Neighbor, 4 years ago, 4 hours in that same ER, no diagnosis, $12,000 with a $1000 ambulance bill.

    Same neighbor, 3 years ago, exact same symptoms she had the year before, 1 hour at an urgent care clinic in her daughters small city, full diagnosis and treatment, $800.

    Che, today. I guess Che told us what it’s like. Apparently in America, you don’t get sick and you never go the hospital. And always know where your local (and hopefully good) urgent care clinic is located.

  11. Howard

    Per Ché Pasa´s story of emergency medical care ending with the comment that “We are seeing the future unfold,” I am reminded of a remark that I believe William Gibson (the fiction-writer) made: “the future is already here, it´s just not very evenly distributed.”

  12. Hugh

    Ché Pasa, I’m glad to hear you made it through your assault. Best and kindest wishes to you.

  13. Astrid


    In response to my request for specific, convincing information from somewhat reliable sources, you sent me one search link without any suggestions of which sources you found convincing or helpful in developing your thesis. Your search for Chinese Uighur internment camps and the top two searches are from discredited sources, Wikipedia with its well known editing biase particularly against anything Chinese or Russians. And the NED funded World Uighur Congress. I already told you these were sources I examined and dismissed. If you couldn’t put in the work of finding other creditable sources that you could cite to, before you made up your mind, then too don’t have any credible evidence for me. The sheer laziness of throwing a generic search and expecting me to read and respond to everything that it turns up, when you apparently haven’t done so, is absurd. It’s the bad faith behavior.

    The CGTN content I pulled was specifically to address Western MSM accusations about purported mistreatment at the reeducation centers. If the Chinese government made specific accusations against the Falunggong and FLG provided a response, I would look at it. I also don’t think a state news agency is equivalent to a cult’s tabloid. That’s like comparing RT, Al Jezeera or BBC to the Sun or the Mirror. There are biases, but they can’t just fling random accusations the way that tabloids do.

    TGZ specifically address how Zenz had no background in Xinjiang and his research was just reading and putting his interpretation on Chinese government documents, and his interpretations do not line up with any realistic assumptions, such as him assuming the number of internees based on 8 detainees total. His numbers are garbage in garbage out. Yet MSM clearly highlighted his reports and him in making the Uighur genocide accusations.

    So again, I gave you plenty of information that you apparently didn’t digest and instead you focused on misrepresentation of small points, so that you don’t actually engage to issue. You really just went around and proceed my original point. You all for information but you don’t actually read it. You just pick up on something that help you justify dismissing it and clinging to your preexisting prejudices.

    Not a surprise. Congrats, your wasted more of my time.

  14. Jason

    Canadian border agents went on strike Friday. I posted an article but it’s in moderation.

  15. scottie

    Mike Elk over at Payday Report does yeoman’s work. He could always use a dollar or two.

  16. Jason

    Thank you for your BLS report, Hugh. I always look for it. Much appreciated.

  17. Willy

    Astrid, to be honest, the “debate” over Uygher camps simply isn’t controversial enough for me to get all riled up about. My lazy search list, dozens of pages worth, demonstrated that the plausibility lies strongly with the existence of CCP indoctrination camps whether you like it or not. You’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. Or maybe I’ve been so intractably compromised by Wikipedia, the MSM, and the NED, that I’m indeed a waste of your time.

    Since my concerns about the Uyghers are pretty far down my concern list, I won’t be discussing them again.

    I only got into it with you after watching you over-react to others for simply disagreeing with your position, after you’d accused me of over-reacting to others for simply disagreeing with their positions. Blind spots are a bitch, for both us apparently.

    It might be best if we don’t communicate again. I will however, be posting stuff criticizing Dimmy Jore, if you don’t mind.

  18. Yolanda Gibbons

    Too much dope make a man sick. All that funny money they put out there over all those years gonna come back fierce in they face. Ian know what I’m talkin bout. We gettin hotter too. This shit no good man.

  19. Mr Jones

    I can’t disagree with anything Yolanda said. Succinct logic.

  20. Burt Munston

    Thank you, Mr Jones, for the paper on Balanced Tree Partitioning with Succinct Logic

    Tree structured data are special and are widely used in many real-world applications, such as organizational structure analysis and genealogical knowledge graph reasoning. In this paper, we propose the TPA (tree partitioning algorithm) algorithm to achieve a balanced and succinct logic partition of large-scale tree structured data. TPA first extracts all related nodes from a massive graph database and then constructs the convergent subgraph into a complete tree with a specified root node.

  21. Germany has federal elections this September.
    Current polls have each party at percentage support of
    CDU/CSU: 24%-27%
    Green: 18%-22%
    Social Democrats: 16-18%
    FDP: 10%-13%
    AfD: 10-11%
    The left: 6-7%

    The Last election in 2017 had results of:
    CDU/CSU: 33%
    Social Democrats: 20.5%
    AfD: 12.5%
    FDP: 12%
    The left: 9%
    Greens: 9%

    The right wing parties CDU, FDP and AfD have lost around 6%-10% with the CDU losing most of that. The left wing parties have gained around 8% with the Greens making all the gains and the other two parties losing support.

    Probably their will be another cross right/left coalition since parties choose not to allow the left or AfD enter federal government. The left parties could have since 2000 controlled government twice but the greens and SD’s refused to allow the left to have any power.

    Some other interesting elections happening this year are in Chile and Argentina for their federal governments. Chile recently had elections for drafting of a new post fascist constitution where the left won 59% of the non Native American seats.

  22. different clue

    Here is a you tube link to a “cult film” which I haven’t seen for 35 years or so, a science fiction comedy called Dark Star. Somebody brought this link to a NaCap thread. How fun that this movie is available in full on You Tube until somebody decides to order it taken back down.

  23. Ché Pasa

    @Hugh, Willy, git yer, Howard

    Thanks for your kind thoughts and words. We’re all in an increasingly tough position, and experiencing some of it close up is… “clarifying.”

    We talk about collapse all the time. We’ve been living through a period of institutional collapse for quite a while, though many of those imploded institutions, whether it’s the Congress or the Catholic Church or what you will, maintain most of their outer forms and rituals, they are effectively hollow shells with little or nothing inside but corruption and taking.

    If you’ve read Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” you’ve seen how collapse sneaks up on civilizations and societies, but when it comes, the end is surprisingly swift. I don’t agree with all of his premises and perspectives, but his outlines of causes and consequences is pretty solid.

    What can be done about it? I’m not sure he ever got a handle on that, though he tries. I don’t know that many of us have a handle on it either, but one thing I agree strongly with Ian and many of the commentariat on is that for all intents and purposes, we’re on our own, for there are no social-political mechanisms we can rely on.

    Continued and expanded chaos is in the air. “Stay calm and carry on.” Or…?

  24. Astrid


    It’s not polite to dictate gags on others without giving them a chance to respond to the terms first. I will try to respect the terms you outlined if you do. Including Dore, if you are not responding to me directly.

    Though I append one break to the gag. I jumped in on the last thread because you were displaying a behavior that I’ve seen before. So I do reserve the right in the future to links to this conversation, without further comment, and let others decide.

  25. Astrid


    Thank very much for sharing the story. Admittedly I’ve been avoiding ERs and hospitals all my adult life because of the risk of infections from antibiotic resistant bacterias. But your story is certainly more reason to stay away if possible.

    I don’t know if it’s common everywhere in the US, it seems to me that the shortage of family doctors is such that even if you can get accepted as a patient, they’re usually too booked up to see you if you have a sudden health issue. Even routine appointments seem to take 2-4 weeks, longer is needed to book a physical.

    This isn’t too much a problem as I’ve been generally healthy so far and my GP is a lovely person and a meticulous doctor, who will answer emails and return calls within the same day, gives detailed physicals and sound, minimally invasive healthcare advice, but it does mean that if I actually *need to see a doctor*, I am almost certainly going to turn to my local urgent care clinic with its excellent so far rotating staff of nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and foreign accredited doctors. This is despite having “great” insurance and living in areas with exceptionally good for US healthcare infrastructure (DC area and Harrisburg area).

    My parents are fortunate to belong to a large, very well resourced Kaiser Permanente location. They can typically see their GPs for all their medical issues and get specialists and tests quickly if they need it. They tell me way too much about their medical procedures and physical condition but they don’t talk about any billing and referral concerns, so I assume the administrative bothers are minimal. I would certainly look into KP if it was available in my area.

  26. Having listened to most of “Ep. 71: Whitmer Entrapment; Biden Coverup; Tucker; Vaccines; CNC AND MORE! Viva & Barnes LIVE!” where the excellent lawyer Robert Barnes lays out the rather stark difference in treatment of the “insurrectionist” trespassers* and Deep State, Democratic, and BLM/Antifa type perpetrators of criminal acts who face little to no consequences for their much more serious acts, I find that I’m conflicted on whether or not I should listen to one of the latest additions to my youtube feed.

    Specifically, “SHE WILL BE INDICTED AND JAILED” – Angry Sen. Ted Cruz GOES OFF on WICKED Hillary Clinton”. On the face of it, sounds like sheer madness, after listening to Barnes.

    (Well, after listening to the first 1:29, I definitely want to hear this, even if it contains silly arguments about a thoroughly corrupt Hillary Clinton facing justice from a thoroughly corrupt Justice Department. Off to Uber!)

    Hey, speaking of the “insurrection”, I heard that some Capitol Hill police are being prevented from testifying by Nancy Pelosi. This after 4 Capitol Hill police have committed “suicide”. Oh, the trauma of getting confronted by the guy with horns! I can only imagine.

    This is so totally NOT a false flag operation, but instead a clear sign that we should move to becoming even more of a police state than we already have. NOT!

    * who screwed up by forgetting to arm themselves with even pea shooters

  27. Jason

    As the world burns:

    In 2021, wildfires in B.C. have burned more land than all of P.E.I.

    Largest individual wildfires are bigger than some entire nations

  28. Here is a conspiracy theory.
    In 2016 the CIA and FBI helped Trump win the 2016 election with the knowledge that they could get Trump to ineptly attack these institutions. The purpose was to get the the center/left to rally behind the CIA and FBI and support more of a police state. Comey’s 2016 letter which broke FBI protocol helped Trump win and they did only focus on Clinton’s behavior while ignoring Trumps massive crime list. It was only until after Trump won the election that these groups decided he was a Russian asset and dangerous. Before that they wanted him to defeat Clinton. Currently the Democratic Party is supporting censorship, increased government Surveillance, and a new Cold War which logically means we need more military and spy funding.

    Given the behavior of these organizations that we know about this wouldn’t even be the worst things they’ve done.
    FBI leaders in the past have said their job was to oppress left wing politics. They targeted, and harassed civil rights leaders even assassinating people. Recently a death bed confession from a police officer came to light about how the New York police and the FBI killed Malcolm X. The FBI even started gang wars in order to weaken black political power. The CIA has helped overthrow more democracies and install more mass murdering dictators than any organization in world history. Trump has resulted in the horrid shit the CIA and FBI did being memory holed by the center/left. Similar to the lead up to the Iraq war anyone questioning the new Cold War and the need for a larger Surveillance state narrative is censored or insulted/canceled.

  29. Hugh

    metamars is upset that white rioters trying to overthrow the government were arrested and charged while black and brown people protesting being murdered by police were not. This exposes the subtext of a lot of the make America great again movement. They want America whiter, where they’re on top, and black and brown people know their place. This fits seamlessly into the recent moves in Republican states to make it harder for all these uppity black and brown people to vote.

  30. Plague Species

    Soredemos, brave one that you are, I changed it for you. This is better, no? You’re welcome, and thank you for the editing tip.

    That is a fucking lie. I live in “Bubba territory” too or directly adjacent to it and the exact opposite is true. This thing, this screen name, is a deceit. It’s been engaging in this kind of deceit forever at that venue and hasn’t been moderated let alone banned. That means it is a reflection of the character of Yves and Lambert.

    This is not surprising. Yves career involved enabling the wealthy elite via providing consultation services for their businesses. She is an Ivy League graduate. As much as she bemoans the PMC, she is the PMC and no, there is no such thing as a class traitor. Your class is like the stripes of a zebra — it’s permanent no matter how much you pretend otherwise. Perhaps there are a few rare exceptions, but that requires walking the talk which is no small feat. So is Lambert by virtue of his association with Yves and fealty to her. I truly believe the wealthy elite want these rubes, the Vaccine Obstinate and let’s not forget that many are black and brown as much as they are white and most are poor, to die and Yves and Lambert and IM Doc are helping in that endeavor by providing cover and apologia for the recalcitrant selfish pig plebs who refuse to take the pandemic seriously.

  31. Plague Species

    It’s true, we are on our own. When someone calls for you to be executed in your back yard, i.e. taken out back and shot, you’re on your own. Especially when it’s the FBI making the threat.

  32. Ché Pasa

    Regarding the fantasy of white rioters at the Capitol being so severely oppressed and unfairly charged and detained while BLM protesters went scot free is just that: a fantasy. Naturally, it would be promoted by an attorney.

    More than 14,000 people were arrested during last summer’s massive protests against police violence, mostly for being loud and in the way. Or just being in the way and disobedient about it. Police were out in force, they were brutal; hundreds if not thousands were injured, some severely (like eyes being shot out among other things) by police weapons. At least 60 people were run down by crazed drivers plowing into crowds, other protesters were beaten, shot at and/or killed by frenzied anti-BLM individuals and mobs. And not in “self-defense.”

    Unlike the fantasy, whole cities were not burned to the ground, but a good deal of the arson and looting that did take place was started by… dum-de-dum … either police or Proud Boys. Instigators? Sure. Provocateurs? Absolutely.

    By comparison, the Capitol rioters have been treated with kid gloves, with no arrests taking place at the Capitol during the riots; most of those arrested have been released on their own recognizance, only a few are still held. They have been given every benefit of the doubt and then some. It appears that many judges are very sympathetic with their cause — interfering with and ultimately overthrowing the government of the United States of America on behalf of a conman/entertainer. Clarifying, no?

  33. Plague Species

    Fox News was running this, this morning. I don’t believe they ever ran a similar piece related to the families of the Victims of 9/11 asking McDonald Trump to declassify the 9/11 documents. Of note, the New York Times and CNN and MSNBC are not running this story. I wonder why?

    Eagleson said he is convinced that senior leaders in the Saudi government knew about the planned attack and did nothing to stop it.

    Among the evidence he cites is the 2017 sworn testimony of former FBI Special Agent Stephen Moore, who was in charge of the Los Angeles Task Force Team for PENTTBOM, the FBI’s investigation of the 9/11 attacks.

    “Based on evidence we gathered during the course of our investigation, I concluded that diplomatic and intelligence personnel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two 9/11 hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot. My colleagues in our investigation shared that conclusion,” Moore said in his affidavit.

    He’s being too generous and kind, Eagleson. Senior Saudi leaders not only knew about and did nothing to stop it, but in fact aided it and abetted it much as Putin aids and abets the ransom hackers. It’s American leaders, some at least, who most likely knew about it and did nothing to stop it.

    Greg Sheffield had the goods on the Saudis in 2002 and the FBI shut his investigation down and hid it. Why would the FBI do that? So MBS could rise and become handy with a bone saw? As sarcastic as that sounds and is, it’s partly true but not the whole truth by any stretch.

    My two-year-old daughter at the time played with Greg Sheffield’s two-year-old daughter in 2002 when we were neighbors in Fort Myers. My wife was friends with Greg’s wife. Greg and I were not friends. Such a Small World though, isn’t it? Kevin Bacon-ish.

    The FBI agent who led the post 9/11 investigation of Saudis who moved out of their Sarasota-area home under suspicious circumstances two weeks before the 2001 al Qaeda attacks urged the FBI to seek information from the CIA about whether they assisted the terrorist hijackers.

    That’s among the final disclosures the FBI made recently to conclude a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by Florida Bulldog in 2012 seeking records of a bureau investigation that was once so secret its existence was withheld from both Congress and the 9/11 Commission.

    News that the FBI agent who led the probe wanted to ratchet it up by contacting the CIA for further information about the Saudis with ties to the Royal Family was redacted from an explosive April 16, 2002 FBI report when it was released to Florida Bulldog in 2013 – six months after the FOIA lawsuit was filed by Miami First Amendment attorney Thomas Julin.

    Most significantly, the heavily censored report written by FBI Agent Gregory Sheffield said agents had found “many connections” between the Sarasota Saudis and the hijackers who trained at a nearby airport. The report noted a “family member… was a flight student at Huffman Aviation,” where two of the 9/11 hijack pilots trained.

    What would be the fate of a POTUS who declassified ALL of these documents? Every last one with no reductions? Drone strike? Strategic bullet to the head with an Italian Fucile di Fanteria Modello infantry rifle, or so the official story would go? Biden’s so old and on his way out, what does he have to lose? His legacy? What the hell’s a legacy worth if you’re not here to vainly bask in the aggrandizing adulation? Go out with a bang, Joe. Declassify ALL of the documents without redaction. Let the fireworks commence. You’ll finally be a hero. Maybe. Or maybe not.

  34. js

    Yes doctors are in shortage, most everywhere. The AMA did it’s job in limiting supply too well, we can hardly find a doctor, and then they are rushed when we do. Still I coordinate any actual medical care I need with a doctor and often a second opinion from another doctor, because I need the expertise. Since many people do not go to the doctor right now due to costs, can you even imagine what it would be if we did have universal medical care? We’d find out on day 2 that we didn’t have the doctors to actually provide medical care to the population, that the system only seemed to “work” at all when way too many people were deprived any medial care at all. The jig would definitely be up on the AMA and it’s doctor limitations. Of course it’s possible much care would be moved to nurses and physician assistants. Some is now.

  35. Hugh

    Religious extremists in Saudi Arabia (which is saying something) attacked and seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979. Even though they were dislodged, arrested, and executed, this traumatized the Saudi royals because it made them realize they could be next. So they made a deal. They turned over the Saudi educational system to the imams behind the attackers and they allowed, even encouraged, Saudis to back jihad anywhere against anyone as long as they didn’t do it in Saudi Arabia. This worked out pretty well for them, seeing as this coincided with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It also explains the milieu that Osama bin Laden came out of and why 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.

    js, it’s a double whammy. The AMA has greatly limited the number of doctors. On top of that, many US-born docs specialize. So fewer GPs.

  36. Plague Species

    Somehow, I bet Fox News didn’t cover this. It was too busy trying to get McDonald reelected.

    Months after President Donald Trump promised to open FBI files to help families of the 9/11 victims in a civil lawsuit against the Saudi government, the Justice Department has doubled down on its claim that the information is a state secret.

    In a series of filings just before a midnight court deadline on Monday, the attorney general, William Barr; the acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell; and other senior officials insisted to a federal judge in the civil case that further disclosures about Saudi connections to the 9/11 plot would imperil national security.

    But the administration insisted in court filings that even its justification for that secrecy needed to remain secret. Four statements to the court by FBI and Justice Department officials were filed under seal so they could not be seen by the public. An additional five, including one from the CIA, were shared only with the judge and cannot be read even by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

    Barr insisted to the court that public discussion of the issue “would reveal information that could cause the very harms my assertion of the state secrets privilege is intended to prevent.”

    Greg Sheffield still works for the FBI, but how could he in good conscience? He can’t, so therefore his conscience is not good. As such, he’s effectively dead and he’s living a lie. I guess we all are living a lie to a certain degree, with some living the lie to a much greater degree than others.

    What could the reasoning be that Barr says must never be revealed? Do they fear bone saws? A Saudi backlash? America’s complicity in the events of 9/11 and the ensuing cover-up would spark a rebellion that makes January 6th seem like a picnic?

  37. Soredemos

    @Plague Speicies

    “no, there is no such thing as a class traitor.”

    Thank you for so concretely demonstrating your total ignorance of revolutionary history.

  38. Plague Species

    Thank you for so concretely demonstrating your total ignorance of revolutionary history.

    History is history. This is the here and now. The past does not predict the future nor does it even inform it.

  39. someofparts

    “History is history. This is the here and now. The past does not predict the future nor does it even inform it.’

    Bafflegab is bafflegab. There is the doodle and the dawdle. The past is silly beans neener neener neener.

    So are we being trolled by Dr. Suess now?

  40. someofparts

    Here’s a topic that might be interesting to our esteemed Canadian host. Maybe we could even talk about it without embarrassing ourselves.

  41. PS

    “The Perfect Police State” by Geoffry Cain is a good description of what, why and how China oppresses the Uyghur population. It is well written and a fascinating read.

    Here is a link to a discussion by the author:

  42. It’s unending warpsville in hugh-world. Who would have guessed?

    Robert Barnes’ hero, BTW, is Mart Luther King.

    hugh’s hero is his own navel, methinks.

  43. @ Che Pasa

    More than 14,000 people were arrested during last summer’s massive protests against police violence, mostly for being loud and in the way. Or just being in the way and disobedient about it. Police were out in force, they were brutal; hundreds if not thousands were injured, some severely (like eyes being shot out among other things) by police weapons. At least 60 people were run down by crazed drivers plowing into crowds, other protesters were beaten, shot at and/or killed by frenzied anti-BLM individuals and mobs. And not in “self-defense.”

    Well, to clarify, Robert Barnes was talking about the stark difference in treatment by Feds, such as DOJ and FBI. As well as the Capitol police. He also addressed the difference in treatment by the courts, though I don’t remember if he confined himself to just DC courts, or not.

    As you should know, has broken the stories about FBI penetration of Oath Keepers and probable setup of the Jan 6 False Flag. Most of the bogus plot against Gretchen Whitmer were FBI.

    Is your thesis that police and Proud Boy instigators were NOT similarly penetrated by the FBI (or other Deep State) actors?

    If so, on what basis would you make such a claim? Wishful thinking?

    Do you really think Nancy Pelosi (or Mitch McConnell, for that matter) have the least bit interest in finding out (or, more realistically, exposing) what happened and who is who, for Jan 6, or the ubiquitous riots of 2020? When Nancy Pelosi quickly ejects Jim Jordan, who has threatened to ask Pelosi about her culpability for the lack of security on Jan 6, you should be able to figure out that she is an obstacle to truth, wrt Jan 6.

    In light of this deceitful behavior, do you actually think she has any interest in exposing undercover provocateurs in the 2020 riots?

    I wish I had bookmarked it, but there was a conversation between Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo about the desirability of “shutting down” the riots, after the polls showed that they were eroding support for Democrats. This is circumstantial evidence that the Dem mayors, at the very least, were embracing the riots.

    I don’t remember a single Democrat of national stature calling on any of the riot-permissive Democratic mayors to snuff out the riots, either. Do you?

  44. Ché Pasa

    Assume that every advocacy/political/insurrectionist organization or unorganized group is infiltrated by police/military/intelligence forces at every level. Assume all of them are monitored more or less closely. Assume too that some now and then become useful idiots in a larger cause or plot that most of us have little or no knowledge of and we will never find out for sure what’s really going on.

    Those of us who have been around for a while know that this happens, this goes on, it’s a constant. The question is what does it matter any more?

    The idea that somehow the Capitol rioters/insurrectionist are being treated worse than the anti-police violence protesters last summer is absurd on its face. That it would be made by an attorney is unsurprising. But it’s not true.

    That both groups were infiltrated is obvious. That both were victimized/goaded by provocateurs is equally obvious to me. But it’s also obvious that the Capitol rioters/insurrectionists are — on the whole — being treated with deference, even kid gloves, by the authorities, and very few will face more than minor punishment for their involvement; most will escape any accountability at all.

    The contrast between the actions and inactions with regard to the protests last summer and the Capitol riots could not be starker, regardless of infiltration and provocations.

  45. Hugh

    We live in an age where taking responsibility for your actions is considered incredibly stupid. So when a mob of racist white folk attack the Capitol to overthrow an election, we get all the standard excuses: it never happened, or if it did, they were just tourists, and if that doesn’t fly, they were unsuspecting dupes of the Deep State and the FBI, even though surveillance of right wing groups has been notoriously lax since the fiascos of Waco and Ruby Ridge nearly 30 years ago and especially since 9/11, or, or it was Nancy Pelosi’s fault because what isn’t and Jim Jordan who voted to overturn the election and so is an impartial bystander says so. Oh, and these right-thinking concerned tourists aren’t racist at all. Some of them have even heard of Martin Luther King, and who wouldn’t be upset by a bunch of black and brown people voting? And, and, it all must have been a false flag operation. Not just January 6th, but the election, and if you don’t like your breakfast, then that too. And if you still don’t believe me, just ask the great civil rights attorney Robert Barnes. I mean he defends tax cheats in LA. What could be more civil rights than that?

  46. Willy

    The disinformation business.

    Plutocracy is about winning all costs, with the competent maintenance of any liberal democracies or capitalisms for the benefit of the citizenry usually being irrelevant. It’s well known that our plutocracy has been wildly successful at coercing millions to believe and act and vote against their own interests, through the skilled manipulation of the common culture. World history demonstrates that this behavior has been integral to the human condition.

    Such things take money, and much has been reported about money trails behind such coerciveness usually leading back to plutocrats and/or the organizations they sponsor.

    Many have stated that Russian troll farms exist because Putin wants to destabilize America. I don’t believe that’s entirely true. I think that Russian troll farm exist because they’re a business. Russian entrepreneurs know there’s a lucrative market for disinformation, and so hire otherwise underemployed English-speaking Russians to target whatever it is the company has been contracted to target. A competing business. Product reviews. Elections. Or in the case of American libertarian plutocrats, the derailing of progressive movements.

    It seems far more practical for plutocrats to hire these businesses, instead of say, young Liberty University student-idealogues, for what should be the obvious reasons.

    One knows they might be up against this money, directly or indirectly, when everything they say or do, right or wrong, left or right, agree or disagree, is consistently attacked, after which they’re attacked on a personal level. The goal isn’t to persuade, but to silence. This falls right in line with the “win at any cost” strategy.

  47. Mark Level

    So my Open Thread topic is being a Climate Change refugee, & successfully making my move from just south of Oakland to the shores of Lake Superior here in Northern Minnesota. I haven’t commented on this site in quite some time due to the effort of moving over 2000 miles in 2 stages, one with a loaded UHaul with 92% of the belongings I kept and didn’t throw out (lotsa old books, sadly) or give away whenever possible, that lasted from July 21-27, then flying back to the Bay Area and thoroughly cleaning out the place I’d been in for 13 years and packing up everything left, including the cat (not particularly happy with a 5 day cross country trip living in the back floor/seat area with just enough room for his pet bed, food and water bowl, and a small litter box) into what my 4 door sedan would hold. Anyway, despite some anxiety about both truck/car trip’s length and the ability of Murphy’s law to completely sidetrack me, both voyages succeeded & I am in one piece and moving in bit by bit. Of course, I have to acknowledge my complete privilege relative to the majority of climate refugees currently in the world, I got a buyout from my employer to retire a bit early (they benefit by hiring cheaper young people, my wages rose to near 6 figures after 22 years of public High School teaching, with a union we badly needed as Neoliberalism made things much worse for teachers thru Bush, Obama & Arne Duncan, Trump etc., lots of admin bullying which wasn’t there when I started, plus endless “team building” meetings that resemble North Korean practices) & had time and leisure to plan and get here . . . & yet, it’s not a total escape. When I was in Eastern Wyoming on Aug. 2 there was very bad air quality evidently from the California fires I was fleeing (5th year of serious fire season) and now that I’m here in Duluth there is bad air quality due to . . . .massive Canadian wildfires!! Anyway, nice to see updates from Astrid and Che Pasa, also Jason’s relevant comments and many others. I even agree wholeheartedly with Hugh’s comments (among others) on the idiotic attempt by a different commenter to tie BLM to terrorism, while the Jan 6 mob was just hunky-dory white people protesting a (non) “stolen election.” (Btw, I left less than a mile from Oakland in northern San Leandro & we had large BLM protests last summer. There was minor looting in a couple spots, which is really about opportunity for a few people who tag along with the crowd, and have learned the Capitalist lesson that it’s not who you are, it’s what you have, & want their “piece of the pie” usually withheld. In any case, though I’m white the only reasons I didn’t attend the BLM marches was (a) Covid concerns, & (b) getting older. I have no fear of local people of different races but could only be there in spirit. I attended my first protest of Robert McNamara getting a “humanitarian” award from the University of Chicago in ’78 or ’79, & many, many since, a good friend who helped me load up and dispose of furninture recalled a protest we were at in 1984 when a cop randomly maced him and some other folks in his vicinity, 10 feet from where I was standing.) My plan is to enjoy a year in the town (not large, only 68k) and look into buying a rural property next year when I know the area . . . but everything is connected and since there is no political/ environmental solution in THIS country for the foreseeable future given the Pure Evil (R) party and the Lesser 98.5% Evil Washington Generals (D) party that loses every meaningful battle that they pretend to fight, I will be focused on making my life as safe and functional as possible, waiting to see if it all falls apart or if I will live long and healthy enough to help pick up some pieces someday . . . (though not too optimistic on that count). At the moment I really enjoy it here in the upper midwest. People are friendly and low-key, I’m sure I will down-shift a bit in the level of intensity I usually had living in NorCal. It’s rained a couple of times since I’ve been here, actually the summer weather reminds me a bit of New Orleans, where I lived 1981-89, high humidity and warm, it builds up until there’s a rainstorm, then may clear up but in any case is cooler and nice . . . Anyway, tending my new garden is the current plan, while keeping my eyes open for the start of some movement against our failed Empire, economy and environment to possibly congeal as things worsen and even the most in denial ‘Muricans maybe start to wise up. . . (Well, we all have to dream, even recognizing the unlikelihood of near term solutions to the post-industrial human plague.)

  48. But it’s also obvious that the Capitol rioters/insurrectionists are — on the whole — being treated with deference, even kid gloves, by the authorities, and very few will face more than minor punishment for their involvement; most will escape any accountability at all.

    BS. This is as “obvious” as the moon being made of green cheese. And, I note that you, again, are not differentiating between the “authorities” that Barnes focused on, and whatever “authorities” dealt with BLM non-violent protestors you are talking about, at multiple cities and states.

    At whatever location you please, can you name even ONE non-violent BLM protestor who was held in solitary confinement, 22 or 23 hours a day, for months?

    See “Letters from a DC Jail” @ americangreatness dot com

    See also “Tucker Carlson: Why are Jan. 6 protesters still in jail while murderers walk free?” @

    Regardless of what “authorities” you are referring to, why would any sane citizen NOT want Deep State provocateurs exposed? Please tell me you at least want Deep State provocateurs exposed who jeopardize protestors that you are sympathetic with.

    If so, please also inform us as to what journalistic and legal efforts, if any, are being made to expose them. Where is a left-leaning analog to, which is trying to ferret out likely FBI and Deep State provocateurs at BLM protests?

    I’ve heard nothing at all about such efforts.

  49. Soredemos

    @Plague Species

    Look at you attempt to cut and run. You make a definitive statement, “there is no such thing as a class traitor”, then, sensing this is about to be proven definitively false, you attempt to shift goal posts. “W-w-well history doesn’t matter!”

    Marx = upper middle-class.

    Engels = upper-class, literally owned and ran a factory.

    Kropotkin = aristocrat, literally a prince.

    Lenin = upper middle-class, father was gifted a noble title.

    Trotsky = wealthy farming family.

    Alexandra Kollontai (yeah I know you’ve never heard of her; figured I wouldn’t make this list a complete sausagefest) = aristocrat, father was a general.

    Mao = wealthy farming family.

    Ho Chi Minh = upper-class, father was a Nguyen imperial bureaucrat and scholar.

    Guevara = upper-class.

    Castro = son of a millionaire land owner whose wealth largely depended on exploiting Haitian laborers.

    And that’s just a selection of big names. Revolutionary movements always contain large numbers of rebels from the higher classes. Most working people are too busy struggling to get by to organize revolutionary intellectual traditions.

  50. NR

    Che Pasa:

    The FBI has a long history of going after left-wing groups far more than right-wing groups.

  51. Willy

    Mark Level,

    I appreciate the details of your move and personal history. I’m in the PNW where 100 degrees used to be the all-time high record. This week we’ll be seeing at least 100 for the 4th or possibly 5th time this summer alone, already.

    I have a few family in the Marin and San Jose areas who’ve mentioned that the cost of living has gotten so high that a lot of public workers types like teachers, police, city services… are trying to get out, even if they already homes, usually in places very long commutes away. I’m curious what things were like down there from a teacher’s perspective.

  52. Willy

    sorry, “own homes”

  53. Ché Pasa

    The FBI’s interest in Proud Boys, et al. has been collaborative, using PBs etc, as informers on the activities of the Vast Antifa Conspiracy. Since PBs, etc, love to mix it up in the streets with the black clad anarchists — and anybody else which shows even a trace of anti-authority impulse — they would know what was on the horizon.

    Because of the long-time collaborative relationship between the FBI and PBs, et al. on behalf of their mutual interest in crushing the Vast Antifa Conspiracy, I seriously doubt it occurred to the three letter services that their rightist authoritarian collaborators might stage an uprising themselves (at the Capitol no less) rather than do what they are supposed to, fight Antifa in the streets.

    Guess what? There were no Antifa in the streets for PBs to fight with on Jan 6. What were they to do? Of course, go fight the skeletal po-po force at the Capitol and win! Yay!

    Show me one anti-police brutality protester last summer who armed themselves and stormed a state capitol or the national capitol. Show me any ‘antifa’ or BLM activist who stopped the legislative process and forced legislators to run for their lives.

    Show me ‘antifa’ or BLM activists who ran over and killed Proud Boys or 3 Percenters or Oath Keepers or any of the rightist authoritarian brawlers.

    Show me any ‘antifa’ or BLM activist that killed police.

    Show me a PB who got his eye shot out by police. It didn’t happen.

    As for “exposing” the machinations of three letter and other nefarious forces? Heh. We’ve been doing that at least since the Kennedy Assassination, over and over and over again. What has changed?

  54. Ché Pasa

    And Mark Level, what made you choose to move to Michigan? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    I’m glad you recognized the unsustainability of living in the Bay Area; it will soon be true in the Pacific Northwest as well.

  55. Shorter Che Pasa:

    No, I don’t know of any non-violent BLM protester whose been doing months of jail time in solitary confinement.

    No, I don’t know of any left-leaning analog to revolver news; or of legal efforts, that’s exposing FBI/Deep State entrapment / provocateurs of Jan 6 protesters, or BLM protesters.


    I’m just gonna take a wild guess, here, but you couldn’t care less if either Nancy Pelosi, or Mitch McConnell, obstructs serious investigation into the Jan 6 ‘insurrection’

    Of course, the TPTB will exploit the ‘insurrection’ to strangle, even further, the civil rights of both left-leaning and right-leaning citizens.

    It’s very dismaying that some left-leaning useful idiots are participating in their own marginalization as citizens, by and large, even if a few will graduate into well paid careers as kapos. Do they really think that, by going along with this nonsense, it will not eventually backfire on themselves?

    We can derive clues to a correct answer from the video “Krystal and Saagar: Facebook CENSORS Its Own Liberal Critics Proving No One Safe”. The dynamic is similar.

    Oh, and BTW, aren’t you the least bit curious to find out the identity and motives of whoever would have shot somebody’s eye out? Maybe just a tidge upset that no justice will be done there, either? Or, are you not curious since, if it is a Deep State provocateur, you wouldn’t want to end up on their bad side; or in a database for future reckoning, if you ask too many of the wrong questions.

    For proper framing, consider the false flag operation at the Maidan, in Ukraine. Forensic evidence showed the same snipers were shooting government police, as well as protesters. It would be idiotic to just focus on one, and ignore the other. Whatever useful idiots there may have been amongst the protestors, do you think that, if they woke up to their manipulated reality, they would just pretend that their original opponents are to blame for all their woes?

    They have a ruined country to show for their ‘efforts’. And by helping empower their new masters, at some level they will deserve their fate. After all, they did their part to create it.

  56. Astrid

    Mark Level,

    Glad to hear that your move went well and that you’re enjoying your new surroundings! Sorry to hear about the smoke. We were traveling near your neck of the woods recently, and definitely noticed more haziness and redder sunsets compared to Central PA, though hopefully the fires never get close enough to have those apocolytical orange sky days. I’ll put in a PSA to pick up N95 as they are still available relatively cheaply and useful against smoke and COVID. NOAA has a handy tool for tracking surface smoke.

    What I say below are probably things you’ve already considered and may come across as patronizing. I don’t intend it that way, but more as things I thought about as I came to decide that my current “4 year plan” suburban home is going to be the “forever home” that I thought would have 5-20 acres and be far from people. I would say definitely enjoy your time in town and think carefully about the tradeoffs of rural living versus town living. Most suburban plots should have enough space to provide most of the fresh food you need, and you would be closer to services (and less likely to have the multiple days long electrical outages). The sort of neighbors you have may be more important than the specifics of settings. Being within walking or biking distance to basic services may become important in the not so distant future. Wherever you end up, get it up to the best plumbing, structural, electrical, and insulation standards that you can afford. Look up clubs and civic organizations you can join to get a good lay of the land and eventually get some support, and identify interesting shops (especially thrift and repairer shops) and healthcare providers. Collect recommendation for handyman so you can try them out on small jobs before committing them to bigger ones.

    As for a fall garden. Check your likely first frost date. If it’s in September, you may already be too late for most things other than spinach, lettuce, arugula, turnip, kale, leaf mustards, and radish. It may feel hot still but its definitely time for fall planting. Plant more than you would need. Spinach, kale, and arugula can be blanched, wrung out, and frozen for winter meals. It might be worth buying a cold frame (Costco usually has this version available and on sale for about $230 in the spring) to extend your fresh veggies season and for seedling starting in the spring. It may or may not be too cold for garlic ( I think zone 5 is safe but zone 4 would be iffy except for cold hardy varieties) but September would be time to plant them. Buy good looking big bulbs from local farms (ones in supermarkets are treated with growth inhibitor and won’t grow well). Johnny’s Select Seed (expensive in small quantities, but they have a similar climate and reliable guidance that every professional vegetable farmer I know rely on), FedCo (cheaper seeds, less advice, similar climate), and Sandhill Preservation Center.

  57. Ché Pasa

    I think Ian and most of the commentariat here understand that knowledge per se is not power, except sometimes over your own situation, and that “knowing” X, Y, or Z about the nefarious forces that rule over us is of little or no utility because we don’t have power over those forces at the larger scale they operate on. Further, what we think we “know” because our “knowledge” comes from TeeVee or a podcast or a Facebook post or some YouTube channel we watch or read or listen to is often wrong, often enough deliberately so, but keeps us fascinated and/or chasing phantoms (cf: Qanon as a prime but not the only example).

    Knowledge that gives us power includes how to grow corn, beans, squash, and other nutritious foods, where to get seeds (don’t rely on Johnnie’s) how to save seeds, where to live — and how to live — relatively free of the looming disasters that are already impacting numerous urban areas (and not necessarily sparing rural ones). What to do to stay relatively safe, never completely safe, from the various plagues and pandemics that are only just starting, how to get along with people you might otherwise try to avoid, and on and on.

    The knowledge that some malefactor of great wealth or servant of the Devil is doing nasty things for the most part has no impact on you or me in an immediate sense. Even if it does, there’s very little most of us can do about it.

    I know Ian is adamant that “we” must control and/or replace our elites, but “we” have no knowledge or guidance in how to do that barring mass revolt. Which, so far, ain’t happening folks.

    We have seen — and maybe participated in — relatively small scale revolts over the past decade or so (Occupy, the BLM protests last summer, the Capitol riots) that seem intentional toward “disciplining the elites” and each has had its effects and reactions on and by the powers that be, but what has really changed for the better?

    I would argue nothing has changed for the better and much has changed for the worse.

    Look after yourself and those you are close to and don’t worry so much about what “they” are doing, because you can be sure they don’t give a good gott-damb about you.

  58. different clue

    About whether ” history matters or not” , and limiting comment to general thinking and not directing it toward anyone in particular . . .

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
    There are none so dumm as those who will not think.
    There are none so lost as those who will not read a map.

    Does history provide a useful map? There are two answers to that, one right and one wrong. And the answers are . . . it either does or it doesn’t. Let Darwin take those who guide their present and future actions by the wrong answer.

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